Tim Shipman – Daily Mail February 28, 2010
More Asians are now opposed to immigration than white Britons, according to a new poll which reveals that opposition to new arrivals now transcends race.
Research commissioned by the Searchlight Educational Trust found that 39 per cent of Asians, 34 per cent of whites and 21 per cent of blacks believed immigration should be halted either permanently or at least until the UK’s economy was back on track.
The findings are a stunning rebuke to the Labour government, which opened the doors to untrammelled immigration and then sought to brand voters ‘bigots’ who questioned the pace of change.
The report, titled Fear and Hope: The New Politics Of Identity, reveals that a large proportion of voters, across all races and communities, now have concerns about immigration.
Immigration was held to have been on the whole a bad thing for Britain by 63 per cent of whites, 43 per cent of Asians and 17 per cent of black Britons.
The report also reveals that the failure of mainstream parties to speak out about immigration has opened the door for the possible emergence of a far right party.
Almost half of those questioned, 48 per cent, were open to supporting a new far-right party as long as it eschewed ‘fascist imagery’ and did not condone violence. And 52 per cent agreed that ‘Muslims create problems in the UK’.
The poll, carried out by Populus, was one of the largest studies carried out on the subject, based on 91 questions to more than 5,000 individuals.
It found that peoples’ attitudes to immigration were largely shaped by their level of economic optimism. Those who fear for their jobs and longterm economic wellbeing are more likely to be opposed to further immigration.
The Searchlight Educational Trust said the report ‘throws down a challenge’ to mainstream political parties to better understand what is happening in the body politic, the Trust said, warning ‘dangers’ lie ahead if these issues are not addressed.
The report’s author Nick Lowles said young people are more open to living in an ethnically diverse society. But in a clear warning to the political class, he said: ‘This report gives those of us who are campaigning against extremism nowhere to hide.
‘The harsh truth is we are in danger of losing touch with the public on race, immigration and multiculturalism.
‘The attitude of all sections of the community to these complex issues is now running far ahead of the politicians and community leaders.’
Labour MP Jon Cruddas said the findings should ‘ricochet through the body politic’ as they showed the potential for the rise of the far-right unless mainstream parties acted soon.
In a forword to the report, he wrote: ‘Put simply, unless political parties step up and provide a new language of material well-being, of identity and belonging, then these political forces might refract into more malign forms. As such, the political class has been warned.’
The level of net migration into the UK rose by 36 per cent last year, Office for National Statistics figures show.
An estimated 572,000 people entered the UK on a long-term basis in the year to June 2010 while 346,000 emigrated.
Ministers want to reduce net migration levels, the difference between the two figures, to tens of thousands by 2015.
To help do this, the coalition plans to cap immigration from outside the European Union.